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Officials say President Joe Biden read WNBA star Brittney Griner’s handwritten letter

Brittney Griner’s appeal to President Joe Biden in a handwritten letter continued to draw backlash on Tuesday after the WNBA All-Star admitted she feared she would never go home and asked Biden not to “m ‘to forget as well as the other American detainees’.

Griner’s letter was delivered Monday through his White House officials, and officials say the president read it. However, Griner’s wife, Cherelle, said on a morning talk show Tuesday that she hadn’t heard of Biden.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was repeatedly asked about Griner on Tuesday during the regular briefing. She said Biden had read the letter, but she did not detail his reaction.

“It’s very personal for him.”

Jean-Pierre did not say whether Biden was scheduled to speak with Griner’s family, but said National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had recently spoken to Griner’s wife. Grind.

Jean-Pierre said Biden wanted to bring Griner and other Americans home.

“We will use all possible tools to achieve this,” said Jean-Pierre.

Griner is in the middle of a trial in Russia that began last week after she was arrested on February 17 for possession of cannabis oil while returning to play for her Russian team. The trial will resume on Thursday.

Less than 1% of defendants in Russian criminal cases are acquitted and, unlike US courts, acquittals can be overturned.

Representatives for Griner shared some excerpts from his letter to the president on Monday.

“As I sit here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, my family, my friends, my Olympic jersey or any achievement, I am terrified of be here forever,” Griner wrote.

“On July 4, our family normally honors the service of those who fought for our freedom, including my father who is a Vietnam War veteran,” the Phoenix Mercury Center added. “It hurts to think about how I usually celebrate this day because freedom means something completely different to me this year.”

Cherelle Griner was disappointed not to have direct communication with the White House since the letter was delivered.

“I still haven’t heard from him and honestly it’s very disheartening,” Cherelle Griner said on CBS Mornings.

Cherelle Griner said the fact that Brittney is speaking directly to Biden indicates how scared his wife is of what’s next.

“BG is probably the strongest person I know, so she doesn’t say words like that lightly,” Cherelle said. “That means she’s really terrified that she might never see us again. And you know I share the same feelings. … I’m sure she was like, ‘I’m going to write to her now because… my family tried and failed. So I’m going to do it myself.

Griner pleaded with Biden in the letter to use his powers to secure his return.

“Please do everything you can to bring us home. I voted for the first time in 2020 and I voted for you. I believe in you. I still have so much to do with my freedom that you can help restore,” Griner said. “I miss my wife! I miss my family! I miss my teammates! It kills me to know they are in so much pain right now. I am grateful for whatever you can do right now to bring me home. “

Griner was able to have sporadic communications with family, friends and WNBA players through an email account set up by his agent. The emails are printed and delivered in packets to Griner by his lawyer after being reviewed by Russian officials. Once the attorneys return to their offices, they will scan all of Griner’s responses and send them back to the United States to send.

She was supposed to have a phone call with his wife on their anniversary, but it fell through due to an “unfortunate mistake,” Biden administration officials said.

Griner supporters have encouraged a prisoner exchange like the one in April that brought home Navy veteran Trevor Reed in exchange for a Russian pilot convicted of a drug trafficking conspiracy. In May, the State Department designated her as wrongfully detained, placing her case under the supervision of its presidential special envoy for hostage affairs, effectively the government’s chief hostage negotiator.

Griner is not the only American wrongfully detained in Russia. Paul Whelan, former Director of Navy and Security, is serving a 16-year sentence for espionage.


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